Galil-Golan handsMaccabi Tel Aviv its first loss of BSL season

90-89 loss was to Hapoel Galil Elyon-Golan at Kfar Blum.

maccabi ta 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
maccabi ta 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Maccabi Tel Aviv's poor form in the BSL finally caught up with it on Sunday night when the side suffered its first defeat of the 2006/07 season, losing 90-89 to Hapoel Galil Elyon-Golan at Kfar Blum. Maccabi won its first 14 games of the BSL, grinding out wins time and again, but on Sunday, the club struggled in every facet of the game and lost to one of the league's hottest teams. Galil won for the fifth time in its last six games on Sunday and coach Oded Katash has transformed his side from relegation battlers to Final Four hopefuls in just five weeks. "We are going through an excellent period and have now won three straight games," said Katash, a former Maccabi Tel Aviv star. "I'm never happy when Maccabi loses, but it's always a lot of fun to beat them. Tel Aviv is a confident team and is one of the best in Europe. "This game gives us a lot of motivation for the remainder of the season." Omri Caspi, on loan from Maccabi, led Galil scorers with 17 points, and Kenny Adeleke added 13 points and 16 rebounds. Tal Burstein kept Maccabi in the game with 17 points, nine rebounds and six assists, but Tel Aviv was always going to struggle with Nikola Vujcic scoring only five points in 17 minutes. Maccabi was in control early on and led 12-4 after three minutes. Galil-Golan answered with an 8-0 run and midway through the quarter took the lead. Caspi's three with 17 seconds remaining in the period gave Galil a five-point lead, but Jamie Arnold's hook shot in the closing seconds cut Maccabi's deficit to 26-23 at quarter's end. Tel Aviv struggled on offense at the start of the second period and two successful free throws by Caspi capped another 8-0 Hapoel run that put the hosts up 34-23. Lior Eliyahu scored Maccabi's first points of the quarter after three-and-a-half minutes and two points by Derrick Sharp brought his team to within four points of Galil. Maccabi could not get any closer and Hapoel took a 48-42 lead into halftime. A three-point play by Robert Rothbart three-and-a-half minutes into the second half extended Galil's lead to 11 points, but Sharp soon found his shooting touch and turned the game on its head. Three consecutive baskets from beyond the arc by Sharp gave Maccabi a 66-64 lead with one-and-a-half minutes remaining in the third period, but Caspi's buzzer-beating layup put Galil in front once more, 69-66, ahead of the final quarter. Simas Jasaitis's three after one-and-a-half minutes gave Tel Aviv a 71-69 advantage. The lead changed hands repeatedly in the subsequent minutes and neither team managed to open up a substantial margin. Burstein gave his club a 87-84 lead with a three-pointer and two minutes on the clock. Galil-Golan's Chester Simmons tied the score immediately with a three of his own and the game was decided in the final seconds. Arnold's basket from an offensive rebound gave Tel Aviv an 89-88 lead, but Gili Mosinson scored the winning basket with four seconds remaining and handed the perennial Israeli champion its first loss in league play. Also Sunday, Hapoel Jerusalem defeated Ironi Ramat Gan 94-89 after overtime, recording its eighth consecutive BSL victory. Jerusalem, which was led by Dror Hajaj who scored 19 points, hosts Maccabi Tel Aviv in a postponed game at Malha Arena on Thursday and will be confident of registering its ninth straight league win.